Saturday, April 30, 2011

Wow! Preston Jones from the Star-T tweeted about HIO!


Friday, April 29, 2011

Download "Sustrepo" for a fin!

That's right! Now you can download the new Hentai Improvising Orchestra opus, Sustrepo, for only five measly bucks. We think it's the best thing we've ever done. Go here to sample or download the album.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

HIO in the FW Weekly

Well whaddaya know. The Italian kid gave us some ink here.

Lolaspalooza sked

Spune Productions sends:

MAY 5 - MAY 8.

Thursday, May 5 & Friday, May 6
Doors 9. Show 10. $8 over 21 / $15 Under 21.

Saturday, May 7 & Sunday, May 8
Doors 11. Show Noon
$5 before 4pm, $8 after 4pm. / $15 Under 21.


LOLA'S INSIDE: Cadillac Fraf Birthday Bash
Garuda 12:00 PM - 1:00 AM
The Roller 11:00 PM - 11:30 PM
Panther City Bandits 10:00 PM -10:30 PM
Bad Creek 9:00 PM - 9:30 PM
Doors 8pm


The Me-Thinks 12:00 AM - 1:00 AM
Vorvon 11:00 PM - 11:30 PM
Hanna Barbarians 10:00 PM - 10:30 PM
Stella Rose 9:00 PM - 9:30 PM
Mara Conflict 8:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Doors 5 PM (outside stage starts at 6pm)

Pablo and the Hemphill 7 9:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Solo Sol 7:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Sam Anderson 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM


Josh Weathers Band 9:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Luke Wade Band 7:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Exit 380 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Jefferson Colby 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM
Kevin Aldridge 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Nick Choate 1:30 PM - 2:30 PM
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

The Orbans 11:00 PM - 12:30 AM
The Cush 9:30 PM - 10:30 PM
Dove Hunter 8:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Cahoun 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM
Fate Lions 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Quaker City Night Hawks 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM


Stoogeaphelia 9:00 PM - 10:00 PM
My Wooden Leg 7:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Maren Morris 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Darth Vato 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM
Chris Johnson 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Scott Copeland / Carey Wolff 1:30 PM - 2:30 PM
Scott Vernon 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Spoonfed Tribe 11:00 PM - 12:30 AM
Rivercrest Yacht Club 9:30 PM - 10:30 PM
Sally Majestic 8:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Black & Blues 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM
Cityview 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Taylor Craig Mills 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM


Wow. Here's the band that Bill Harkleroad (aka Zoot Horn Rollo) and Mark Boston (aka Rockette Morton) put together post-Captain Beefheart's Magic Band. Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull paid for them to record an album and Virgin released it, and they made another album (In A Different Climate) that was released in the States before they folded the tent. It weren't the Magic Band, but it weren't bad, either -- sounding like the Grateful Dead here, um, Gentle Giant there. Artie Tripp (aka Ed Marimba) was involved in the project early on, but left before this 1976 Rockpalast performance. I'd forgotten how good these guys were.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

FWSO playing "The Rite of Spring" May 6-8

As I'm playing shows Friday and Sunday that week, I won't be there, but the Fort Worth Symphony is playing Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring" on Friday 5.6.2011 (7:30pm), Saturday 5.7.2011 (8pm), and Sunday 5.8.2011 (2pm). Worth checking out in this, the piece's centennial year. The phrase that pays is "You owe it to yourself."

Here's Pierre Boulez conducting Milan's Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala back in 2006.

E.T.A. and Magnus online

I would be remiss if I failed to make you aware that worthy locals Elvis Took Acid and Magnus have new web presences, on Reverbnation and Bandcamp respectively. The music on E.T.A.'s page is from their old (2008) CD, but their new EP is due later this year. Magnus' new CD is downloadable for free from their page, as is their 2002 demo with original guitarist-singer, the late Merk Crandle. You know what to do.

Spot redux?

Wow. Head Hochiman Reggie Rueffer, the closest thing to a musical genius that I know personally, sez that his '90s band Spot of "Moon June Spune" fame (shown below performing at the Wreck Room, RIP) is rehearsing "for more than reunion show." Color me intrigued.

My scrawl in the FW Weekly

A review I penned of the BAcksliders' The BAcksliders from Dallas, Texas is in this week's paper and online now.

Another HIO "Sustrepo" snippet

More from T. Horn's camera audio here. Full Hickey mix coming soon. That's me on wah-wah diddley bow, performing approximately the same function as Hickey's gopichand used to. Later on, it sounds like Philip Glass jamming with Sun Ra.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Yardbirds box set imminent

Easy Action, the Brit label that's done so well by the Stooges and Sonic's Rendezvous Band, gots a 5CD Yardbirds box set entitled Glimpses 1963-1968 in the works. Label honcho Carlton Sandercock was instrumental in releasing the Yardbirds' BBC sessions and Cumular Limit, the best document of the Jimmy Page-era band your money can buy. As someone who's bought their catalog so many times it ain't even funny, this floats my boat real much.

"Dead Hendrix"

The new Ugly Things is here! The last bastion of old-school fanzine culcha's latest issue is replete with more info than you ever thought was possible on original Them guitarist Billy Harrison (first part of a series; the ass-ends of similarly exhaustive, multi-part features on Patto guitarist Ollie Halsall and Aussie rockers the Masters Apprentices also appear in this ish), the Pleasure Seekers (pioneering all-girl band with Sherilyn Fenn's mother and aunts, one of whom you might know as Suzi Quatro), and Norton Records' Billy Miller and Miriam Linna (the latter of whose Bobby Fuller piece in Kicks kind of set the standard for what Mike Stax and his crew are up to). While the ish loses points for just reprinting Stax's liner notes to the Coba Seas' Norton release (fella's gotta get paid somehow), that transgression's more than offset by the inclusion of Tim Earnshaw's "Dead Hendrix and the Last of the Hipster Mohicans: The Jimi Hendrix Albums They Don't Want You To Hear."

I'm as obsessed with late-period (post-Electric Ladyland) Hendrix as I am with the Who, the Stooges, and the '64 Mingus band. I think Jimi's writing improved over time -- whose doesn't? -- and that the Cox-Mitchell riddim section was a more effective teaming than Redding-Mitchell had been. Bearing in mind that I've frequently commented that Jimi was "the water I grew up swimming in," I was 13 when he died, and didn't begin to understand the full extent of his accomplishment until much later. The first album of his that I owned was Rainbow Bridge, which I bought when it was brand new. Besides sounding as if it was recorded underwater (I blame bad mastering), that album contained a dizzying array of sounds including "Dolly Dagger," the studio "Star-Spangled Banner" with its orchestra of overdubbed guitars, the live Berkeley "Hear My Train A-Comin'," and "Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)," perhaps the greatest of Jimi's chord studies -- in sum, more than I was capable of wrapping my teenage mind around.

Are You Experienced? I found daunting at first -- were all those sounds really _guitar_? -- and Classic Rock radio ultimately blunted my enjoyment of about half of its songs, in the same way as it did for Who's Next and Dark Side of the Moon, albums I once loved which I don't _ever_ need to hear again. The four songs from Hendrix's incandescent Monterey Pop Festival set that were originally released as one side of an LP along with a similarly truncated Otis Redding performance were a lot more visceral and thus, more easily accessible. My first year of college I got wa-a-ay into Electric Ladyland and my aborted last semester, similarly into Axis: Bold As Love (although in the latter case I was attempting to deal with the songs as playing forms, not acid-trip sound F/X).

Cooling my heels/spinning my wheels at my parents' house for a couple of years before moving to Texas, I discovered the subtler pleasures of The Cry of Love (along with Beefheart, Coltrane, Ornette, Miles, et al.). I still find the sequence "Freedom"-"Drifting"-"Ezy Rider"-"Night Bird Flying" as satisfying as anything I've ever heard on record. Then I lost the thread for awhile, until Rykodisc released Live At Winterland and Radio One in the late '80s. Voodoo Soup, Alan Douglas' imagining of the last Hendrix album, arrived in '95, when I was rediscovering Dee-troit ramalama, and I briefly owned it during a time when I was selling all my CDs and books to eat. When the Hendrix catalog was sold to MCA a couple of years later, Voodoo Soup was duly deleted and replaced by First Rays of the New Rising Sun, which contained more of the old Rainbow Bridge material and in time became my favorite Jimi. Until now.

The point of Earnshaw's Ugly Things piece is to rehabilitate the reputation of the recordings released after Hendrix's death -- not just the first set, which declined in quality from The Cry of Love through Loose Ends, but also the much-maligned Douglas creations (Midnight Lightning through Voodoo Soup) that frequently committed the sin of overdubbing the work of musos who'd never worked with Jimi in life onto unfinished tracks. It's an interesting premise. Myself, I found The Cry of Love as cohesive as anything Jimi released while he was alive, and Rainbow Bridge (mastering aside) nearly so. By the time War Heroes and Loose Ends appeared, I was off into other things; I thought they made fine background music in somebody else's dorm room. I've never heard Crash Landing or Midnight Lightning.

I think that Alan Douglas, who produced Eric Dolphy before and John McLaughlin and the Last Poets concurrently with his work with Hendrix, had as much "right" to work on the posthumous releases as Eddie Kramer, who facilitated Jimi's sound-painting on the three Experience albums. I also understand that history is written by the victors, and Kramer is clearly the Hendrix estate's man. I've already said that I dug his vision of the fourth Hendrix album. Earnshaw's piece motivated me to dig up a copy of Voodoo Soup (which I hadn't heard in 16 years) for basis of comparison.

Voodoo Soup loses three Cry of Love songs ("My Friend," "Straight Ahead," and "Astro Man"), only one of which ("Straight Ahead") is missed. In exchange, you get four instrumentals -- "New Rising Sun," which opens the proceedings in a fashion reminiscent of the first couple of tracks on Electric Ladyland, and the bluesy jams "Midnight," "Pali Gap," and "Peace in Mississippi" -- along with a studio take of "Message To Love" (a Band of Gypsys highlight). "Pali Gap," which originally appeared on Rainbow Bridge, is as sublime as the Woodstock-closing jam "Villanova Junction," while "Peace in Mississippi" rides that monochordal drone in _nastier_ fashion than anything else in the Hendrix canon. Jimi loved to jam, and it seems only fitting that side of his musical personality should be represented (as it was by the long blues jam version of "Voodoo Chile" on Electric Ladyland). I also like the way Douglas jacks with our expectations, having "Freedom" appear as track three, rather than opening the album, and placing "Night Bird Flying" before "Drifting" and "Ezy Rider."

First Rays retains all of the Cry of Love songs and adds both sides of the withdrawn final single "Dolly Dagger"/"Izabella" (the former of which appeared on Rainbow Bridge), adding the instrumental "Beginnings" and two crucial Rainbow Bridge tracks: "Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)" and "Earth Blues." "Beginnings" was performed at Woodstock and appeared on the Woodstock Two album and innumerable bootlegs as "Jam Back At the House." It's more structured but, to these feedback-scorched ears, not as inspahrd as the jam material that appears on Voodoo Soup. I think in a perfect universe (which we all know doesn't exist), I'd graft "Dolly," "Izabella," and "Hey Baby" onto Voodoo Soup to make my ideal version of the Hendrix album that never was. Maybe you've got yours, too. Hope so.

(The vids are pretty lousy and included only to pique your interest in hearing this music.)

Deniz Tek on playing guitar with the Stooges

Once I dreamed I was onstage playing second guitar with the Who. It was weird. Here Deniz Tek of Radio Birdman fame writes about playing guitar with the Stooges for four songs at last week's Ron Asheton tribute in Ann Arbor (Deniz's hometown, too). Talk about your wish fulfillment. I'm envious, but also realize that there's no better man for the job than Dr. Tek.

Monday, April 25, 2011

MC5 bassist on HIO

MC5 bassist Michael Davis, whom I interviewed awhile back, recently heard some HIO recordings online and had this to say: "This is a canvas of sound, open-ended, continuous, and organic. A soundtrack of a dream. Music to paint by. The freshest thing I've heard this century! The treacherous zone where right is wrong and wrong is right."

Quite a thrill for me reading his words, having spent months gaping at his psychedelic-Uncle-Sam-suited image on the back of the Kick Out the Jams sleeve before summoning the nerve to buy the record as a 14-year-old, and admiring his band's experimental edge after I got to hear all those '68 live recordings in the '90s.

These days, of course, Michael is running the Music is Revolution Foundation, which awards grants to music teachers in public schools.

Alice Cooper Band reunion

Here they are: Vince, Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway, Neal "The Rockin' Realtor" Smith, and an unidentified guitarist in the Glen Buxton slot. (I'd heard it was gonna be Steve Hunter but it doesn't look like him.) When I was 15, I thought these guys were _the shit_, although their music hasn't aged particularly well to these feedback-scorched ears.

Another Stoogeshow online

Hembree just posted his recording of our 10.14.2010 Lola's stand, celebrating our friends Linda and Jamie's b-days, on his Stoogeaphilia archive. It's an hour and a half extravaganza which I seem to recall as being particularly inspahrd, as sloppy and out of tune as it got at times. (But then if it didn't, it wouldn't be us.)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Mitch Ryder - "Rock and Roll"

Consider the case of Mitch Ryder: an oldies act consigned to the county fair circuit here in his own country, while in Germany, he's considered an artist of stature, with a _catalog_.

I first became aware of him via the slightly older guys in my neighborhood who had a song lyric to go with any situation, who dug James Brown, Wilson Pickett, and Stevie Wonder as much as they dug the Young Rascals, Mitch and his band the Detroit Wheels, and loads of local imitators, even though real black people like JB and the Wicked One scared the bejeezus out of them. Later, when I was learning to play, seemingly every band on Long Island played Mitch's version of Lou Reed's "Rock and Roll," which he recorded for Paramount in 1971 with the band Detroit, which included ex-Wheels drummer Johnny Bee Badanjek and Steve "Decatur Gator" Hunter (of future Lou Reed-Alice Cooper-Peter Gabriel session fame) on lead guitar. So of course that's the way I learned how to play it, too. (Helpful hint: It's in C.)

Mitch was still playing "Rock and Roll" the way it's supposed to be played (as its author is purported to have said in re: Mitch's version) in 1979 when he appeared on the German Rockpalast TV show. My buddy Geoff in Philly was kind enough to send me a dub of the show on VHS. Several songs from that performance are on Youtube; check 'em out. It's a corker of a show.

Mike Haskins Experience - "Are You Gonna Be There?"

The once and future Nervebreaker covers the Chocolate Watch Band, live at Dallas' Lakewood Bar and Grill last night.

Iggy/Ron/James - better quality

4.24.2011, FTW

1) HIO dinner/recording sesh at T. Horn's house. Finally got to enjoy his famous turkey burgers, as well as several fine beers. The perfect host. He'd prepared the recording situation, and I was interested to note that his animals (dogs Sparky and Timmy, orange cat Jazz) weren't afraid of the amplifiers the way our guys are. While we were playing, I watched some of Restrepo -- a doc about American soldiers in Afghanistan, whose director Tim Hetherington was killed in Libya this past week -- with the sound turned off. It made me think about a friend who's currently serving in Afghanistan. Hoping for his safe return. Turns out one of the soldiers from the platoon in the movie was the first living Medal of Honor recipient since Vietnam.

2) After recording for almost an hour, we watched some of the doc with the sound on and bits of a few horror flicks while Terry downloaded the video. He says I play the most aggressively of the three of us. I think Hickey plays the most consistently surprising things (since we got him off the gopichand), although his guitar playing makes me a little nuts. Terry's the glue that binds us; really, the concept of the band is his.

3) Terry also burned me a copy of the CD he bought from Apollo 18 at 1919 Hemphill. Comparisons being odious, they don't have the massive bottom that Boris does (which made the Japanese trio such big faves among punk-rock brats that teethed on Melvins and Sleep), but they're more than just a Bush to Boris' Nirvana. They're all skillful, finesse-y players who can still attack their instruments aggressively and with abandon. Lots of slow-to-moderate tempos with busy riddim arrangements, and edge-of-chaos fuzz-'n'-feedback guitar. (It was interesting to see the guitarist on the set; he starts with an almost solid-state-like amp sound, then adds TS-9 and Big Muff to get his tone.) Some more uptempo, groovin' stuff as well. Will be listening to this for awhile.

A taste of HIO's "Sustrepo"

Here's a taste of the forthcoming HIO release Sustrepo -- raw audio from T. Horn's video camera. Hickey's mixing the pukka recording as I type this, and we also have a short snippet recorded on analog reel-to-reel tape for some sinister future purpose. Terry plays record player and laptop. Hickey plays guitar, balloon, harmonica, percussion, and voxxx. I play eBow guitar, diddley bow, autoharp, kalimbas and xylophones. I think this session was the best thing we've recorded since Jeff Liles shot video of us playing in the Green Room at the Kessler Theater last March. And we've yet to see our performance Michael Briggs recorded for the Violitionist Sessions.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Excerpt from HIO recording/dinner 4.23.2011

Me on guitar, Hickey on balloon, Terry on video. You may need to be a Facebook victim to view this.

Mark Kozelek - "Duk Koo Kim"

I was stationed in Korea when Ray Mancini killed Duk Koo Kim in the ring. They told us not to talk about the fight if we traveled around the country. This song was on a mix CD that Frank Cervantez made for me when my dad was dying. I thought about it while I was watching Restrepo at Terry's house tonight.

4.23.2011, FTW

1) Had a good run yesterday morning. Saw a four-foot-long water snake on the Trinity Trail. Both of us were just passing through, but it still gave me the willies. Not his fault, poor bastard. The Park & Rec guys were sprucing up the park for Mayfest. I particularly like the way they turn off the water fountains, forcing folks to pay concession prices to stay hydrated.

2) Helped an old gentleman at work who was clearly suffering some memory loss. Funny how all these visibly impaired old folks become my parents in my head. Perhaps it's because I've been reading Tom DeBaggio's When It Gets Dark.

3) The Ron Asheton tribute in Ann Arbor was by all accounts a tremendous event. Several netbuds of mine were in attendance. I need to catch up with a couple of 'em to get their impressions, and one of 'em promised to send me his recording of the show. Jim Jarmusch was there with a crew filming for his Stooges documentary. I cried the first time I listened to the new song Iggy and James wrote for Ron, but then again, I'm getting old and soft in the head. The second time, I flashed on Reed and Cale's Songs for Drella and realized that Ron let Jim become Iggy in the same way that Andy let Lou become what he could be. Glad that Iggy realizes it too. The orchestra seems like a bad idea. I'm waiting to hear the four songs they played with the Stooges with Deniz Tek on guitar. Wondering if DT might be getting groomed to step in at whatever point Williamson gets tired of it and steps out.

4) Hickey's new JATSDFM single is the best thing he's done since A to E are Ex, Why, and Z, and the realization of his rock bands' promise. I will tell him so to his face when we gather at Mr. Horn's for turkey burgers and music this evening.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Iggy and the Stooges, Ann Arbor, 4.19.2011

Not the best damn sound mix I ever heard.

Iggy thanks Ron

Hickey's first music video!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Symphonic Stooges!

From the Ron Asheton Tribute in Ann Arbor, 4.19.2011. Hearing is believing.

Your last chance to cop Rocket From the Tombs' "The Day the Earth Met..."

Rocket from the Tombs was a '70s Cleveland band that contained the seeds (personnel and material) for Pere Ubu and the Dead Boys. For years, their demo and live recordings circulated among collectors until Smog Veil released a CD compilation, The Day the Earth Met Rocket From the Tombs, in 2002. Now the label's offering their last copies of the disc for nine bucks. Last chance to hear the 'riginal versions of "What Love Is," "Ain't It Fun" (which I'm listening to now to woodshed for the Stoogeband), "30 Seconds Over Tokyo," "Sonic Reducer," and "Final Solution" before they go to the oblivion of inflated collector prices.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My scrawl in the FW Weekly

A review I penned of china kills girls' debut CD is in this week's paper and online now.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Last Year's Stoogeshows, Today

As the li'l Stoogeband gets ready to play Lolaspalooza (Sunday, 5.8.2011 at Lola's, of course; time still TBD) and Arts Goggle (Saturday, 5.14.2011 at Landers Machine Shop, 10pm), Hembree just uploaded our performance at last year's 'Palooza and our two-set 5.15.2010 extravaganza at the Tradewinds Social Club in Oak Cliff (with Wanz Dover blowing sax on "1970" and "Funhouse" in addition to letting us use his PA) to his Stoogeaphilia archive. Check 'em out!

The Flying Eyes' "Done So Wrong"

Well, _this_ was a nice surprise: The second album by the Flying Eyes, a heavy psych band from Baltimore, of all places, who do the biz over in Europe -- including a recent appearance on the legendary Rockpalast TV show (see clips below) -- but have a somewhat lower profile back in the U.S.A. (shades of Blood of the Sun), and whose initial selling point was guitarist-singer Will Kelly's sonic similarity to, um, Jim Morrison.

Well, on Done So Wrong, Kelly's ditched the Morrisonics, coming across like an unholy amalgam of Ozzy, Layne Staley, and early Eddie Vedder, while his band -- just the basics, two guitars, bass and drums -- hits the same fuzz 'n' wah pleasure spots as obscuro '60s/'70s bands like Josefus and the JPT Scare Band, who had to wait for the Millennial decade to get their due. "Heavy psych" -- really just a latter day shorthand for the kind of hard rock that was au courant around '70-'71, when my tinnitus was just developing -- is timeless in a way that earlier forms of psychedelic rock (what my sweetie refers to as "cursed hipi music") were not. There's nothing fey or precious about this music, and its appeal to listeners who teethed on punk and metal is considerable (see the documentary Such Hawks, Such Hounds).

The songs are relatively concise -- only three out of ten break the four minute barrier -- and the tempos are moderate but not plodding in the way of much "stoner rock." The sound is beguiling and hypnotic; Kelly and Co. craft stately and majestic dreamscapes, packed with power and passion and laced with layers of lysergic guitars. When the closing acoustic interlude "Leave It All Behind" kicks in, replete with gentle harmonica and banjo flourishes, you'll breathe a sigh of relief, then press "Play" again. All in all, these Balto brats' sophomore disc is the best new rock music I've heard this year besides Apollo 18's underattended 1919 Hemphill stand.

(HELPFUL HINT: Their Bandcamp page has a link to German Amazon, or order direct from World In Sound by emailing your name and address with the subject "Done So Wrong" to

My scrawl on the I-94 Bar

A review I penned of the new release of archival recordings by Stooges guitarist James Williamson's boarding school band the Coba Seas is online now.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Pssst! Hey, kid! Wanna download a free Porto Franco Records sampler?

Founded in 2009, Porto Franco Records has a stylistically diverse roster of artists (18 at this writing) based in San Francisco, including Stash Dauber fave Mark Growden, his sometime bassist Seth Ford-Young, folk-pop duo Ramon and Jessica, conscious jazzer Marcus Shelby, clarinetist-composer Aaron Novik, and more. Download their Spring 2011 sampler for free here.

James Gang - "The Bomber"

Joe Walsh was a name to conjure with back when I was a teenager. The Ohioan took the innovations of Townshend, Beck, and Page, added taste and a flare for tinkering, and came up with the most distinctive American rock guitar style outside of Leslie West's. Before the Eagles even existed, the first side of Rides Again was a holy sacred artifact, with this song as its pinnacle. Mark my words: Before I die, I will play this song with One Fingered Fist.

4.18.2011, FTW

1) So HIO is apparently playing at a yogurt place in Denton, with dancers, on Friday, 5.6.2011. I'm not imaginative enough to make up stuff like this. Funny how every time we seem to be running out of gas, something like this happens to rejuvenate the project. May it always be so.

2) Hembree just uploaded last May's Stoogeshows (5.15.2010, Tradewinds Social Club, Oak Cliff, and 5.30.2010, Lola's) to his Stoogeaphilia archive. Listen, learn, read on.

Scott Morgan: A li'l discography

I've been listening to Scott Morgan since I was 14 and found the Rationals' album for a buck in an E.J. Korvettes' bargan bin (having read John Sinclair's review of it in Jazz & Pop). I read about Sonic's Rendezvous Band in Creem but never got to hear 'em until the '90s when I hooked up with manic fans/tape traders via the intarweb. It was a big kick observing his late-'90s resurgence (thank you, Larry Harrison), getting to meet him at SXSW in '98, and seeing him play two shows with Powertrane in 2002. It's hard to keep up with his discography because so many releases are on itty-bitty labels that evaporate overnight. But worthwhile. I'll do my best to help.

1) The Rationals - Think Rational!: Long awaited by fans, this brings together sides originally released on the A-Square, Cameo-Parkway, and Capitol labels, as well as tracks from the legendary and now-vinyl-available Fan Club Album, and some sides that have never been commercially available anywhere. Follow their trajectory from bedroom surf-music jammers to Brit Invasion-inspahrd garage kings to blue-eyed soul brothers supreme, with nary a bad cut on the double CD. What's missing, unfortunately, is anything (besides a couple of early demos) from the self-titled Crewe LP, their sole album release during their existence. For that, you'll have to seek out a used vinyl copy or a late-'90s Italian bootleg CD. Here are some reasons why you might wanna:

2) Sonic's Rendezvous Band: Easy Action records, of course, did the business with their 2006 box set, which used some of the SRB history I penned for the I-94 Bar as liner notes. Unfortunately, it's out of stock for a minute. You can still get a double CD of a show from the Second Chance in Ann Arbor, or Bomp's release of the Masonic Auditorium show from the box set on CD or vinyl.

3) Rock Action: Released on the French Revenge label in 1989, this suffered from the curse of '80s amp/production sound, but the songwriting's all first-rate, including the signature tunes "16 With a Bullet" and "Detroit." The SRB rhythm section is here, as they would be for another decade or so when Gary Rasmussen wasn't playing paying gigs and Scott Asheton wasn't working construction in Florida.

4) Revolutionary Means: Good luck finding this one, released on tee-tiny Schoolkids Records (an affiliate of the Ann Arbor record store of the same name). Second album under the Scots Pirates rubric, this one featured another batch of great songs and much-improved production sound (wah-driven guitar grit having become fashionable again, post-grunge).

5) Dodge Main: This band combined Morgan's talents with those of ex-MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer (who was just starting his relationship with Epitaph Records) and Scott's fellow Ann Arborite Deniz Tek (who'd imported the Detroit rock virus to Australia in the '70s and founded Radio Birdman there). Scott sang SRB's "City Slang" and two MC5 songs ("Future Now" and "Over and Over"). Dodge Main played a few shows around the Midwest with various rhythm sections. When I met Scott in Austin, we spent an afternoon walking around while he tried to remember the lyrics to "Kick Out the Jams." When he sat in with Wayne that night, he only got to sing two verses before Wayne bogarted it back for the the big finale. Feh.

6) Hydromatics - Powerglide: After Dodge Main, Scott hooked up with Swedish rockers the Hellacopters for some guest shots on shows and recordings, raising his profile a bit for a minute. Scott got together with head Hellacopter Nicke Anderssen (aka Nick Royale) and Dutch punk-rock pioneer Tony Slug to record the SRB canon under the rubric the Hydromatics. In Austin, he gave me an unmastered cassette of their first album, which was released on the Swedish label White Jazz in 1999. I thought their second album, Powerglide, released on the fly-by-night Italian label Freak Show, was a step up, including some R&B flavored material (a vein Scott and Nicke would further mine as the Solution) and young Ann Arborite Andy Frost on drums.

7) Medium Rare: My buddy Geoff Ginsberg released this now-hideously-rare collection of obscuro treasures on his currently-moribund Real O Mind label. It included four tracks from the 1991 Rationals reunion and four others he recorded in L.A., 1998, with the Jones Brothers, including this cover of Al Green's "Full of Fire":

8) Ann Arbor Revival Meeting: Geoff also released this live document of the best show I've ever seen in my life -- Scott's band Powertrane with Ron Asheton, Deniz Tek, and Cult Heroes singer Hiawatha Bailey, on their home turf at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor. Again, good luck getting a sniff of this.

9) Scott Morgan: For this 2010 release on Alive Naturalsound, Morgan put down his Telecaster for the first time since the '60s. Backed by a bunch of young Detroit guys, he lays down a bunch of R&B-inflected rockers in a set that goes down like a good blues album (as I wrote on the I-94 Bar). Since Alive doesn't appear to be going anywhere, this is probably the best place to start once you have the Rationals comp and _something_ by SRB. It's vinyl-available, too.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

4.17.2011, FTW

1) Looks like the li'l Stoogeband might be reviving "Ain't It Fun" by the Dead Boys/Rocket From the Tombs, a song unplayed by us since Sir Steffin Ratliff left the band in June 2008. Hembree wants to bring it back as part of the "Fun Trilogy" that also includes "No Fun" and "Funhouse." "My Idea of Fun" sleeps with the fishes, however. As does "Marquee Moon," our most popular song for Steffin's last year in the band. Unless he wants to come sit in.

2) Hickey just released a new single under his Joe and the Sonic Dirt From Madagascar rubric, the rock-ish "Capt. Saddo and Twig (Rough and Ready-ish). Me like much.

3) Fort Worth anarcho-improv outfit Drift Era, brainchild of one Jonathan O'Connor, who once claimed to like PFFFFT!, just posted this promo video that's like a narcotic in a good way. Check 'em out.

Hydromatics - "Ready To Ball"

From the second Hydromatics album, Powerglide, on tour in Europe ten years ago.

The kid on drums is Andy Frost, then 23 years old, who also played with Scott Morgan in Powertrane. I had the pleasure of sharing a ride with Andy in Geoff Ginsberg's car between Powertrane shows in Cleveland and his hometown of Ann Arbor. He'd played in a band called the High Rollers with Stooges drummer Scott Asheton's stepson, and spent time hanging out with Scott in Florida. He regaled us with stories of having his wrists squeezed between Scott's drumsticks (apparently, the Stooges' tub-thumper doesn't like people using his shit) and gave us the nickel tour of Ann Arbor, including the MC5 house, Pioneer High School, and the "Scott Asheton Memorial Bridge," where Scott famously peeled the roof off the Stooges' equipment van (see Please Kill Me) -- a feat Andy said he once duplicated while driving a beer delivery truck.

When Powertrane played Stooges songs, Andy did the best recreation of Scott's classic style of any drummer I've ever heard. He had mastered all the fills that most drummers miss when they play those songs. When I told him I liked his drumming better than Nicke Hellacopter's on the first Hydromatics album, he just smiled real wide and said, "Me too!" I was deeply saddened when I learned of Andy's death last May at age 32. He was a cocky, funny, life-filled cat who should have been kicking those traps for many years to come.

Pssst! Hey, kid! Wanna see a documentary about Krautrock?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Iggy and the Stooges - "Hey Peter"

This must be one I missed or forgot. They can't all be masterpieces.

4.16.2011, FTW

1) I'm as ambivalent about Record Store Day as I am about New Year's Eve and St. Paddy's Day. Sure, it's a great oppo for collectors, with lots of limited edition releases for them to fight over. But I'm suspicious of any "holiday" based on consumption. And I buy goddamn records all the time. I endeavor to support my local indie (that'd be Doc's Records and Vintage on Montgomery) whenever and as much as my entertainment dollars will allow, but I've unearthed as many gems of late through Half Price Books (must go back to cop Mingus Complete Bremen Concert I saw there a couple of weeks ago), Recycled in Denton (the Sonny Rollins Our Man In Jazz I wrote about after the event), and, um, the intarweb (my find o' the month is Jaki Byard's hideously rare, vinyl-only '71 French release Parisian Solos that I copped via Amazon). That said, I'll prolly walk up to Doc's and say hey to Jenkins after I get off work today. It's the neighborly thing to do.

2) Drinkie-talkie at formerly fonky Fred's made me a li'l sad to realize that I really can't afford to eat there anymore. While I'm happy to see the two-percenters spending their money with friends of mine, that also means that it's no longer really "our" place, and I believe (like Dylan) that "one should never be where one does not belong." A down thought. Then my sweetie posted her last photos from the Wreck Room on Facebook, and it occurred to me why I'm really not down with the "curmudgeon zone." Thomas DeBaggio says it far more eloquently than I could, in When It Gets Dark:

An artifact is sometimes necessary to light a long hidden memory. When all the artifacts disappear, memories lie dormant in a place where the past cannot be examined with the fresh eye of the present. Memory, which others may call history, has the power to nourish our inner lives, and without it much is lost to the present and to the future. Whether the absence of those personal landmarks and their memories is a fatal affliction remains to be tested.

3) Speaking of memories, I broke down and bought the DVD of the Y2K Who show at the Albert Hall I posted a couple of days ago, since it's beyond my ability to sit at the 'puter watching a movie for two and a half hours. I'd shied away from it before, because it's newer, but then I saw it on Youtube and remembered how happily surprised I'd been by their performance on that tour. It's in the same league and actually holds up better as an artifact than the 2002 "Ann Arbor revival meeting" where I witnessed Scott Morgan's Powertrane with Ron Asheton and Deniz Tek on their home turf at the Blind Pig in A2.

Sure, the "special guests" are kind of lame. Eddie Vedder's probably the best of 'em, but hearing him, Daltrey and Townshend all singing lead at once on "Let's See Action" is like bad karaoke, and Noel Gallagher is a truly dreadful guitarist who makes "Won't Get Fooled Again" sound like versions we played when I was in high school. Watching the extra shit, you find out that Paul Weller's inability to cut the jazz chords prevented Townshend from duetting "Sunrise" with him during the mid-show acoustic interlude. (The Jam-meister _almost_ redeems himself with an OK "So Sad About Us.") And who _is_ the whimpering donkey they got to sing "Substitute?"

On the plus side, violinist Nigel Kennedy's performance elevates "Baba O'Riley," and to compensate for losing the oppo to blow his harp there, Daltrey gets an extended, Cyril Davies-inspahrd coda to a "Magic Bus" that actually cuts the one on Live At Leeds. More to the point, the setlist is impeccable -- early hits rubbing shoulders with Lifehouse and Quadrophenia songs -- and Zak Starkey proves himself to be the perfect drummer for the Who because he doesn't try and match Moon roll for roll. There's a lot more dynamic variation to Zak's playing, which means the band can give the old warhorses nuances that were only latent there before.

When I saw them in Dallas, Townshend surprised me by really being able to play lead, unlike in the past, when he always seemed to be fighting against the instrument. Credit a few years of sitting around with his kid, listening to Coltrane records and practicing. The Strat suits him, providing more tonal variety than his trademark SGs and Les Pauls used to back in the day, and he uses his right hand fingers and whammy bar in a way that's more aggressive than latter-day Jeff Beck, but still highly effective. On the other hand, Entwistle's bass is too low in the mix everywhere except for his solo feature on "5:15."

When they're at their best is as a unit, the three-piece plus Rabbit Bundrick, who's been playing keys with them for over 30 years now, their sound rolling like a big wave on the extended codas to "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere," "The Kids Are Alright," and "The Relay" (_good_ Who funk, the latter -- the polar opposite of "Eminence Front"). Yeah, I'll say it: They were a better band in 2000 than they were when I saw 'em in '71.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Sonic's Rendezvous Band - "China Fields"

Gutterth Compilation Three

I recently read a reference to a local musician’s being a “scene captain.” While inappropriate military or sports metaphors are odious, in the case of Gutterth Productions honcho Michael Briggs, the shoe seems to fit. Surely no one goes to more local shows than Briggs, and he and his pal Brent Frishman (a “scene lieutenant?”) have now presented 48 live showcases, with Episode XLIX scheduled for April 16 at Rubber Gloves in Denton.

Possessed of big ears is this Denton duo, with tastes ranging from harsh noise to garage punk to weird folk. Want proof? Simply download the third volume of their ongoing series of free compilations. (It’s available online at

In the past, I’ve amused myself (and them, apparently) by penning three-word descriptions of each of the tracks on their previous volumes, since it’s a fool’s errand to try and succinctly sum up 38 tracks as diverse as these are. I see no reason to do otherwise now.

Ryan Thomas Becker – Bolan plus Frippertronics.

Drink To Victory – Pensive, then splenetic.

Nervous Curtains – Sinister piano ballad.

History At Our Disposal – Incandescent psychedelic pop.

New Science Projects – Overwrought alienation rant.

Dear Human – Beefheart or Rush?

Sunnybrook – Chugging echolalic chorale.

The Heartstring Stranglers – Is Conor there?

Melting Season – Gentle lysergic pastorale.

Glen Farris – Haunting Appalachian lament.

Sans Soleil – Epic imaginary soundtrack.

The Timeline Post – Lower Mars Voltage.

Power Animal – Synths! 1980, again?

Two Nights – Proggy indecision vignette.

Delmore Pilcrow – Westerbergian lost weekend.

Babar – Odd metered funk.

Fishboy – Kinksian bully revenge.

Drug Mountain – Galloping nightmare screams.

Caleb Ian Campbell – Falsetto Bare Trees.

Shiny Around The EdgesTank Girl returns?

The Angelus – Alternative sea chantey.

George Quartz – Ferry? Only human.

Mount Righteous – Frenetic dystopian madness.

RTB2 – Real modern blues.

Summer Of Glaciers – Idiosyncratically syncopated dreamscape.

Dust Congress – Albee’s No Depression.

Florene – Denton does Eurodisco.

Roy Robertson – Pellucid Yes simulacrum.

Geistheistler – Got tonality? Nope.

Sarah Renfro – Languid political lament.

Handbrake – Adrift at wheel.

Doug BurrTalking Heads ’11.

Amo Joy – Napoleon XIV redux?

P.D. Wilder – 2011 space odyssey.

Daniel Folmer – Mo’ Replacements echoes.

Kaboom – Clank, clank, shriek.

Burntsienna Trio – Waitsian blues dirge.

Northern – Bruce Springsteen? Nah.

So there.

4.15.2011, FTW

1) Reading When It Gets Dark, Tom DeBaggio's second volume of post-Alzheimer's-onset autobiography. It wouldn't seem possible, but I think that his writing actually got sharper and more poignant as his disease process progressed.

2) Hard to believe it's ten years since Joey Ramone checked out. Almost as hard as it is to believe that 3/4 of the original band have shuffled off this mortal coil. Sure, the Dictators got there first, with a major label contract and the same obsessions with junk culture, pop songcraft, and metal sonics, but the Ramones almost instinctively put it together with more iconic flair and distilled the thing down to its very essence. Who'd ever have guessed that it'd last 20 years? It's just a pity they wound up hating each other's guts. Still, _everybody_ must own Ramones Mania (at the very least) -- even my big sis. Here's my very favorite song of theirs, "Outsider," sung by Joey, who truly was, but managed to make his mark anyway.

3) So for the 5.14.2011 Arts Goggle shindig at Landers Machine Shop, HIO is going to be collaborating with Denton's Big Rig Dance Collective, whose performance we inadvertently witnessed while getting our drank on at Hooligan's in little d's courthouse square after recording with Michael Briggs a couple of weekends ago. They scared the bejeezus out of T. Horn by running at us while he and I were walking to the car, planting the idea of working with dancers in his head. We reached out (in a generic kind of way) via Facebook and they wound up responding. Had drinkie-talkie with their braintrust at formerly fonky Fred's the other night, and they appear to be a crew we could mesh with (and steal lots of ideas from). Not sure exactly what we're going to be doing for _our_ part of the gig, but it's already guaranteed to be more visually compelling than watching us staring at our feet.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


The sound's familiar from the get-go: the herky-jerky rhythms, the trebly contrapuntal guitars, the bellowing declamatory vocals. On their debut disc, Austin's Churchwood are definitely filling the Captain Beefheart gap. The field's been open, what with the reunited Magic Band having re-retired, and Fast 'n' Bulbous (Gary Lucas and Phillip Johnston's Beefheart tribute band) having been inactive for a couple of years now. So if you're a sucker for that kind of jive like I am, these guys might be _just your meat_.

Frontman Joe Doerr (ex-Leroi Brothers) sounds like he ate the Don Van Vliet songbook a page at a time; his lyrics to songs like "Pontiac Flanagan" and "Melungeon in the Dungeon" wallow in the pure sounds of words in the same Joycean way that Don was wont to, while making their point more literally, which you might or might not see as an advantage. (I suspect he's hip to this, too -- why else would he have penned a song called "Ulysses," albeit with lyrics about the Odyssey fella?) Doerr's vocals have the same blues grit as Van Vliet's, while lacking their range and tonal variety.

The band, led by ex-Poison 13 guitarist Bill Anderson, plays the same kind of idiosyncratic electrified Delta/Nawlins R&B grooves as the Magic Bands of Safe As Milk and Clear Spot, bypassing the Dada blues of Trout Mask Replica and Lick My Decals Off, Baby. A more apt comparison might be to late '70s flash-in-the-pan Root Boy Slim and the Sex Change Band, if anybody still remembers them, but these guys are better because they're smarter and not trying as hard to be weird or funny or whatever. And Anderson's "Car Crash" is a good ol' NRBQ/early Flamin' Groovies-styled roadhouse rocker to round things out.

Bottom line: Churchwood sounds like they'd be a lot of fun to see in a bar. You could even cut a rug to 'em, if you were so inclined. Another winner from Saustex Media, who previously brought you quality stuff by the Hickoids, Snowbyrd, the Service Industry, the Sons of Hercules, T. Tex Edwards and more.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Beatle Bob: The Documentary

I first encountered Beatle Bob while watching the Sons of Hercules perform at Casino El Camino during SXSW 2000. It was funny to hear Ray mention him at our last Stooge prac. Who knew that he was a living legend? With his own documentary, even.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Duke Ellington - "Lotus Blossom" live in Copenhagen, 1967

Lots of spins of And His Mother Called Him Bill this week.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Normals

I saw these NOLA punks in Austin when I briefly lived there during the fall of 1979. At the time, I wondered how the kid on bass was going to avoid getting whiplash from banging his head so hard on every song. Their one released 7-inch is rarer than hen's teeth, but they had a CD compilation (Your Punk Heritage 1977-84) out in '98, and a 12-track '79 session they taped in Memphis is apparently due for a vinyl release this spring.

The Blues Project's "Projections"

It's recently come to my attention that now that vinyl is popular again, it's also getting more expensive. This runs counter to one of the underlying themes of my life as a crate-digger: I've always been a cheapskate. Started working in record stores, in part, to get 'em cheap/free. Before that, I loved bargain bins -- the racks where the overstocks with cut/punched corners were shoved. I got some of my very favorite records of all time that way: The Who Sell Out, The Rationals, the Yardbirds' For Your Love (a pressing like a manhole cover that must have been at least 240 grams) amd Over Under Sideways Down (a mono copy that was so warped I couldn't play the second side, but which still contained the crazy Jeff Beck ride on "Hot House of Omagarashid" that wasn't on the stereo version), and this one, the second (and best) album by New York's "Jewish Beatles," a band that could only have existed during the '60s.

The Blues Project coalesced in Greenwich Village around 1965, bringing together a folkie session guy who sang blues in a nondescript voice (Danny Kalb); another folkie who sang like Gordon Lightfoot and blew some mean blues harp (Steve Katz); a multi-instrumentalist who doubled on bass and flute (Andy Kulberg); a jazz drummer (Roy Blumenfeld); and a singer called Tommy Flanders, who left quickly. They were augmented by a rockarollin' opportunist, Al Kooper, who'd played guitar in the Royal Teens of "Short Shorts" fame, then insinuated himself into the recording session that produced Bob Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone," hoping to play lead before Mike Bloomfield showed up. Then he discreetly slid over to the organ bench and made history. He joined the Project, in part, to work on his organ chops. He also sang soul in a high, reedy voice; back in the '60s, they figured anybody could do anything, and they were almost right.

They took their name from an Elektra Records sampler to which Kalb had contributed a couple of tracks, and they got signed to Verve, the jazz label that was starting to test the waters of rock with the Mothers of Invention, the Velvet Undergound, and Tim Hardin. Basically, they were a folk-rock band that dabbled in R&B and jazz -- like a lot of the early San Francisco bands, but with better musicianship. Their first album, Live At the Cafe Au Go Go, was undistinguished in comparison to the grittier Paul Butterfield Blues Band or the contemporary Brit bands that were attempting the same thing in a more exciting manner (cf. Five Live Yardbirds or the live tracks that occasionally popped up on early Rolling Stones albums). Projections, however, was Something Entahrly Other, produced by Tom Wilson, who'd worked with Cecil Taylor back in the '50s and invented folk-rock by overdubbing electric instruments on Simon and Garfunkel's "The Sound of Silence." Wilson gave full rein to the Blues Project's eclecticism, resulting in an album that's all over the map in a good way.

Side one opens with "I Can't Keep From Crying," a song Kooper had recorded in a piano-based Ray Charles/Horace Silver gospel-blues groove for the Elektra sampler What's Shakin', which here was extended and mutated into an organ-and-guitar-led rave-up, with Kalb zipping up and down the neck in a frenzy and Kooper laying down swirling, Coltrane-inspired sheets of sound on the Clavioline, an instrument also played by Sun Ra (who once perversely recorded an album with the Blues Project, of music inspired by the Batman TV show).



"Steve's Song," sung by Katz (as the title implies) was a staple on New York FM radio for years, and it's definitely a period piece, its baroque intro and delicate filigree backing conjuring images of Lorenzo St. Dubois clinking his finger cymbals. I'll confess to still really liking this song. (This version, from a 1967 TV show, features John-John McDuffy, Kooper's replacement, on organ.)

The Project's cover of Chuck Berry's "You Can't Catch Me" really doesn't work; Kooper's just too shrill, although he does some nice piano-tinkling in the manner of Berry's pianist Johnny Jones on this track. The version on The Rolling Stones, Now! wipes the floor with this one, however. The album's first tour de force is a cover of Muddy Waters' "Two Trains Running," sung by Kalb. On guitar, he has a thin, nervous sound that's still more akin to the real Chicago cats like Buddy Guy, Hubert Sumlin, and Luther Tucker than the overly-rich Les Paul-through-Marshall tone that everyone was adopting back then in the wake of Eric Clapton's record with John Mayall. The band does a nice job of maintaining tension behind the soloists.

Side two opens with "Wake Me, Shake Me," a gospel-soul feature for Kooper that runs aground on his thin, wimpy vocalismo. Don't take my word for it; listen to Kooper sing the song at the Monterey Pop Festival, accompanied by Elvin Bishop, Harvey Brooks, and Billy Davenport. I'm sure Otis Redding wasn't exactly quaking in his boots if he heard this. The high point on the Blues Project's version is Kooper's Young Rascals-ish organ.

"Cheryl's Going Home" was absolutely archetypal folkie-rock, composed by Bob Lind of "Elusive Butterfly" fame. Probably Projections' best-known track is "Flute Thing," sampled by the Beastie Boys on Ill Communication's "Flute Loop." It's Kulberg's Kooper-penned feature, and the flautist expanded his bit into a head-spinning psych odyssey after he bought an Echoplex.

The album winds up with a cover of Jimmy Reed's "Caress Me Baby" that features quality blues ivory-tickling by Kooper, and "Fly Away," probably Kooper's best _song_ here, replete with archetypal '60s jazz-pop moves from the rhythm section and Katz playing the kind of harp that John Sebastian used to play on everybody's folk-rock records. While I was a little too young to experience records like this one, Butterfield's East-West, and the Animals' Animalization when they were new, I stumbled on them maybe five years later and they were a big part of my musical growing up, and so they hold an inordinately exalted place in my memory today. Reissued by Sundazed, Projections is also generally available for the moment.

Post-Projections, the Blues Project splintered and reformed innumerable times. Kooper and Katz went on to Blood Sweat & Tears, where Kooper suffered the ignominy of being fired from a band he started. He went on to record Super Session with Bloomfield -- really the first record where rock musos came across like jazz cats -- and discover Lynyrd Skynyrd. He wrote a funny autobiography called Backstage Passes and Backstabbing Bastards that's worth reading. Kulberg and Blumenfeld formed Seatrain; Kulberg died of lymphoma in 2002. Danny Kalb was strung out for awhile but is still performing around New York.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

James Blood Ulmer's Odyssey in Vienna, 2.2.2011

Stoogeaphilia/The Dangits/E.T.A. pics @

My sweetie posted some of her pics of Stoogeaphilia, The Dangits, and E.T.A from last night's Lola's extravaganza on her photo blog. Check 'em out, click on 'em to make 'em big, and leave her a comment why doncha?

Stoogeaphilia @ Lola's, 4.9.2011

Video by Mike Noyes of the Dangits. I'm playing his bandmate Branden Smith's SG. (Thanks, buddy!) The song is "Ain't Nothing To Do" by the Dead Boys. Glad it sounded better up front than it did onstage. Is it just me, or do Matt and I look like we're in a ZZ Top video?

Saturday, April 09, 2011

The Who - "The Seeker" in 2007

Not too shabby here, either, although Pino's not the Ox and they dropped a couple of verses (to make the song TV length?). Myself, I miss "People tend to hate me / 'Cos I never smile..."

Friday, April 08, 2011

Pssst! Hey, kid! Wanna see the Who live in Y2K?

I thought I was over them by then, until Ron Geida sold me his extra ticket to what wound up being John Entwistle's last hurrah in Dallas. Boy, was I glad to be wrong. Here's the complete Royal Albert Hall show that some lunatic uploaded on YT.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Jeff Beck/Imelda May - "How High the Moon"

Proof positive (as if any more were needed) that I've become a homebody: a coworker offered me tickets to this show in Grand Prairie last night, and I passed. Looks like I missed a corker.

Random observations

1) As much as I bitch about the "curmudgeon zone" (which you might know as the "7th St. corridor"), I'd rather see people in FTW making money than empty storefronts.

2) I really don't miss working in record stores, listening to guys 15 years younger than me quizzing each other about minutiae related to rare '60s psych records (the way guys 15 years older than me used to quiz each other on minutiae related to rare '50s doo-wop records when I was a teenager). Also, when I was in Denton the other day, I heard a guy returning a new LP to Mad World, complaining about the pressing. The clerk told him, "Just tape a dime to your tone arm." I can imagine how the audiophiles that used to shop at the store where I worked on Long Island would have reacted to that advice.

3) Reading Tom DiBaggio's Losing My Mind. Tom, who recently passed, was an herb farmer and former journo who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's when he was 57. His book chronicles the effect of the disease's progress on him and his family. He was a scout on a journey no one wants to take, but many of us will. Reading him, I'm haunted by my parents' dementia and reminded that every day one spends with a healthy body and sound mind is a gift, not a birthright. I've given up on the idea of further developing the thing I wrote about my dad. I got what I needed to off my chest, the relatives I wrote it for have all read it, and I can't imagine spending more time picking at that scab. A lot of what I'm writing these days is nothing more than downloaded memory. I kid myself that when I start losing my mind, I'll be able to search this blog to find clues to my past (as long as I retain that facility). A down thought.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Pssst! Hey, kid! Wanna hear an Iggy interview from 1970?

Interview with WKNR-FM in Detroit, 11.8.1970, via Strazarni Lopov.

Mick Farren

I was reminded of Mick Farren -- journalist, poet, sci-fi novelist, rockaroller, and participant witness to history -- when I stumbled upon a copy of his CD anthology People Think You're Crazy in the bins at Recycled in Denton this past Sunday. It reminded me of when I first encountered Farren in 1971, stumbling upon a copy of Disposable by the Deviants, the anarchic late '60s London band that he fronted, in the used bin at the record co-op on the Cornell University campus in Ithaca, New York, where my best friend from junior high school and I used to hitchhike to pretend we were college students, buy wine, and shoot pool in the student union.

The record co-op was the place where I also discovered such life-changing platters as the Count Five's Psychotic Reaction album (years before reading Lester Bangs' famous screed about it in Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung), Cecil Taylor's Conquistador, Don Cherry's Eternal Now, and the first Stooges album. Although it wasn't quite clear to me how, there seemed to be a linkage between the Deviants and the Stooges. Maybe it was just that the Deviants' guitarist, Sid Bishop, had a fuzz-and-wah drenched acid blooze sound reminiscent of both the Stooges' Ron Asheton and Funkadelic's Eddie Hazel (in other words, he was _right up my alley_). In the fullness of time, I'd say it was the malignant intelligence that Farren and Jim Osterberg brought to those bands. What sounded at first like uber-dumb rock 'n' roll was really something a lot deeper and more insidious.

Farren disappeared from my consciousness until 1982, when I read an article he'd penned for the Village Voice on he occasion of the Who's appearance at Shea Stadium, which he entitled "The Who Sell Out." When I read it, I was in the Air Force in Korea, but I was impressed by Farren's insight that larger venues had changed the Who's live dynamic and indeed, the dynamic of rock music in general. (He'd been an early media champion of punk with his '76 NME screed "The Titanic Sails At Dawn.")

I picked up the thread in 1996, when Larry Harrison sold me a copy of The Deathray Tapes, a live spoken word performance on which Farren is backed by his by-then-frequent collaborator, ex-MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer; Jack Lancaster, who'd played sax in Blodwyn Pig and by the '90s was making all manner of noises through his F/X-laden horn; and Andy Colquhon, a guitarist in the manner of Bishop, Asheton, and Kramer. His poetry had a post-apocalyptic sci-fi quality about it, redolent of Blade Runner and William Gibson, which was particularly impactful when rendered in a voice which my oldest daughter said sounded like "an evil Jeremy Irons."

Circa Y2K, I got to interview him for a fanzine, and he proved to be an intelligent and interesting cat who spun a good yarn -- my favorite interview after Greg Shaw. His 2001 autobiography, Give the Anarchist a Cigarette, is worth tracking down if you can find it. (Hear him tell the story of the 1968 Grosvenor Square riot in the clip below.)

After that, I eagerly devoured all of his novels. The sci-fi ones were a mixed bag; he was better at setting up situations than resolving them, although The Armageddon Crazy's fundamentalist-run America was disturbingly prescient of post-9/11 reality. Much better was the "Renquist quartet" of vampire novels. As a writing form, poetry seemed to suit him best. To these feedback-scorched ears, his masterworks are "When the World Was Young" ("And I believed in every fucking drop of rain that fell"), and "Dogpoet," which captures the sense of dark foreboding that's present in many of his novels.

Farren, who lived in the U.S. for 30 years, recently unassed L.A. for the UK to get access to healthcare (read Tim Stegall's interview with him here). He continues to blog his acerbic observations of the passing scene here. The Funtopia fan site remains the best place for newbies to begin to investigate his work. Dig him before the Aztec calendar runs out.

Monday, April 04, 2011

The Treniers

Active in the early '50s, these guys were so cool they could even make Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis appear to be so.

Jaki Byard on Video

Jaki talks to an interviewer in 1985, then we go back 20 years to hear him in a pair of 1965 trios, first with Earl Hines and Alan Dawson, then with Dawson and Reggie Workman. A living museum of jazz piano history, tragically shot to death in 1999.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Pssst! Hey, kid! Wanna see some live Dictators from 1981?

A pretty good day in Denton

Went up to little d with T. Horn and Matt Hickey to do a Hentai Improvising Orchestra recording for Michael Briggs' Violitionist Sessions, crate-dig at Recycled Books, and eat at Mr. Chopsticks (which came highly recommended by both Briggs and Frank Cervantez).

Had an extremely productive dig at Recycled. Unearthed a surprisingly clean original 1963 copy of Sonny Rollins' Our Man In Jazz, which I'd recently bitched was hard to find here, along with CD copies of Rollins' first LP as a leader, Worktime, and a Roland Kirk two-LPs-on-one-CD that included another album I've been hunting for lately, The Jaki Byard Experience (which I believe was the inspiration behind Jimi Hendrix' name change and band name).

Our Man in Jazz was Rollins' response to the arrival of Ornette Coleman while he was away practicing on the Brooklyn Bridge, and in typical style, he handled the new development differently than some of the other established jazzcats of the time. Mingus took his men to the Five Spot prepared to diss O.C. and wound up asking Eric Dolphy and Ted Curson if they could play like Ornette and Don Cherry. The result was Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus, a milestone in the titanic bassist's catalog. Coltrane went in the studio with Don Cherry, Charlie Haden, and Ed Blackwell to record a tentative-sounding session where they essayed some of Ornette's tunes. I suspect that The Avant-Garde (which I just bought Richard Hurley's extra copy of last week) remained unreleased until after Trane's death because he was unhappy with the results.

Rollins, on the other hand, just hired Don Cherry and Billy Higgins, said "Fuck the dumb shit, you guys are gonna play _my_ music _your_ way," and booked some dates at the Village Gate that were recorded for Our Man In Jazz. Sonny's theme-and-variations approach was a better match for the Colemanites' freewheeling style of play than Coltrane's obsessive and exhaustive scale-running. The album's highlight is a 25-minute version of Rollins' classic "Oleo" on which the head is barely referred to (did Don know it, one wonders?) before they take off on a series of improvisational gambits, culminating in a slow blues. Throughout, they straddle the line between post-bop and free in a way that Rollins would continue to attempt until 1987's G-Man. I think Our Man In Jazz is my favorite Rollins disc after Worktime and the '57 Village Vanguard sessions.

Mr. Hickey exercised admirable restraint, while Mr. Horn copped CDs by Derek Bailey, Sonny Sharrock, and Sunburned Hand of the Man. Then we decided to hit Mad World Records, the new kids on the Denton square, before meeting Briggs at Mr. Chopsticks for lunch. As soon as we crossed the threshold, I realized that I was tired of looking at records, and in any event, the selection was less awe-inspiring than that at Recycled; I suspect Mad World caters to a younger crowd, and Briggs says he's shifted more Gutterth product through there than he has through Recycled.

Mr. Chopsticks was a fine 'n' funky little place, formerly located on Fry Street, with some outside seating and a very extensive menu that included Japanese, Chinese, and Thai fare, with lots of veggie/vegan options. Hickey had the marinated tofu dish that Frank Cervantez had recommended, Briggs and Terry had sushi, and I opted for shrimp and veggie tempura because I wanted something substantial. The portions were generous and tasty (although not enough to make me forsake Tokyo Cafe) and it's definitely a place we'll remember next time we're in li'l d.

On the way to Briggs' house, we stopped at Sky Guitars, where Briggs informed us there were 50 cent cords available. We went and stocked up on those, since we lose cords everytime we load in/out, and I picked up strings for my and my oldest daughter's guitars, saving me from having to visit the dreaded GC before next weekend's Stoogeshow. Mr. Horn bought a $30 octave pedal and wants to go back to get a kalimba. A bassplayer friend says that they're not the greatest for repair work, but luckily I have an amp guy I trust and whenever my guitars break, I just throw them out and buy another box of cornflakes.

Briggs has created a very warm and welcoming recording environment in his casa, with scented candles, good coffee, and a plethora of instruments. Hickey and I fooled around a bit with an acoustic 12-string and electric organ in a manner so tonal and Pink Floyd-like that, were it ever heard, it would banish all HIO mystique forever. As is the Violitionist Sessions convention, we recorded three numbers. On the first one, Hickey was on bass and I was on guitar. We'd been threatening to do something with "normal" instruments for awhile, although I still want to hear Terry on bass more than the little bit he played at our last 1919 performance-to-nobody. For the second piece, Briggs suggested a quiet one, and he brought in some birds to see if we could get them to react to what we played. Terry put a contact mic on the cage and we concentrated on percussion, autoharp, and small wind instruments. The last piece had less "intention" than either of the others, and I suspect will be the best one when we hear it. Thanks to Briggs for a great recording experience.

Afterward, we packed up our shit and went to quaff a couple of pints al fresco at a college bar-type place on the square called Hooligans. There were some dance people doing something across the street; later, they scared the shit out of Terry by running at us while we were heading for the car. There was apparently some kind of hootenanny going on at the coffee shop next door to Hooligans. We went back to Recycled so T. Horn could buy a book he'd seen earlier. I almost left my bag o' records where I'd checked it there before he remembered. Hickey had an anxious moment when he forgot where he parked his car, but then he remembered with help from Terry. All in all, it was a pretty good day, and we were home by 9pm-ish. Because I suck, I missed the Transistor Tramps/Pinkish Black gig at the Cellar. Next: Landers Machine Shop for Arts Goggle on Saturday, 5.14.

My scrawl on the I-94 Bar

A review I penned of the Stooges' Raw Power Live: In the Hands of the Fans is online now.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Billy Rath Lives!

"The Heartbreakers were a R&R band NOT a punk band...PLEASE get this right/straight! It just happened that the punks loved us, but so did the rockers and the skinheads, etc. We were a New York street Rock ‘n Roll Band. We were/are lovers, not anarchists’/politicians‘!"

That's Billy Rath talking -- he who replaced Richard Hell on bass in the Heartbreakers and subsequently dropped off the face of the Earth, is apparently alive and well (although minus a foot), and will be touring the UK with his band Billy Rath's Street Pirates this summer. Read his first-ever interview with Soundcheck magazine here.